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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Further Characterization of Honey Bees from the Iberian Peninsula by Allozyme, Morphometric and Mtdna Haplotype Analyses

item Arias, Cristina - UNIV OF BRAZIL
item Rinderer, Thomas
item Sheppard, Walter - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 6, 2006
Publication Date: December 31, 2006
Citation: Arias, C., Rinderer, T.E., Sheppard, W.S. 2006. Further characterization of honey bees from the iberian peninsula by allozyme, morphometric and mtdna haplotype analyses. Journal of Apicultural Research 45(4):188-196

Interpretive Summary: The honey bee populations of Iberia (Portugal and Spain) Southern France and Northern Morocco were analyzed for morphological, enzyme and mitochondrial DNA differences. The analyses showed that the population of Iberia is a distinct sub-species which has evidence of genetic intrusion from both France and Morroco. The Iberian population has some markers previously considered African, both coming from Morroco and apparently as part of its unique characteristics. Iberia is the source of the European honey bees taken to the Americas by Spanish and Portugese. Studies that use European honey bees from North America as a baseline for the analysis of African influence in South American populations of bees are apt to misidentify some European honey bees as Africanized honey bees.

Technical Abstract: The honey bee populations of Iberia, Southern France and Northern Morocco were analyzed for morphological, isozyme and me-DNA differences. The analyses were in general agreement and showed that the honey bee population of Iberia is a distinct sub-species (Apis mellifera iberiensis). A sharp zone of hybridization occurred between A. m. iberiensis and A. M. mellifera in north-eastern Spain. The Iberian peninsula is an area of particular interest to study the outcome of possible historic and prehistoric interactions between subspecies. It’s proximity to Africa and human intervention have resulted in the sub-species having some isozyme and mt-DNA markers in common with the Moroccan population. The western range of the sub-species in Portugal has a different mt-DNA marker in common with honey bees from sub-Saharian Africa.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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